Singapore to Run Eye Scan Trials at Immigration Checkpoints

In line with Singapore’s drive to modernize all of its facilities and technology across all sectors of the country and to improve immigration protocols, the Immigration Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will be running trials of the new (and expensive) eye scan technology which is being eyed to replace fingerprint verification protocols in the future, according to a report by the Straits Times last August 6.

This is among one of the latest hi-tech initiatives being pursued by the city-state, some of which have raised privacy concerns from rights advocates, developed to increase efficiency and enhance security in step with the looming threat of militancy in the region as of late.

Eye Scan Technology to be tested at Immigration Checkpoints in Singapore

The iris-scanning technology, which is already used in western countries such as in the US and in the United Kingdom, has met varying degrees of success in spite of its highly expensive upkeep and costs according to experts.

The preliminary trials will lay out the foundation as to how this type of technology should be implemented at immigration checkpoints, shared by an ICA officer during an interview with the Straits Times newspaper.

The trials will be first implemented at two checkpoints: the first, on Singapore’s northern border with Malaysia and the other at a ferry terminal servicing transportation to nearby Indonesian islands, as reported by the Straits Times.

According to the ICA, the trials will only affect Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PRs), as the immigrations agency had already been collecting iris images since January of last year when people were applying for an identity card or a passport.

Singapore’s highly-acclaimed Changi Airport is considering the use of facial recognition technology to identify late passengers, and the country is also looking to use facial recognition systems in a project to install cameras and security sensors in over 10,000 lampposts within the city-state.

The government maintains that such measures are only considered to create ways on how to improve the citizens’ quality of life and the country’s overall safety, also always taking into consideration the implications of these measures to the citizens’ privacy.

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